‘Spider’ ready to upset WBA Champion Bivol
Craig Richards says all of the pressure is on Dmitry Bivol ahead of their clash for the WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title this Saturday May 1 at the AO Arena, Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.

Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) delivered a Fight of the Year contender last time out in December against fierce rival Shakan Pitters as he stopped the Birmingham man in nine rounds to capture the British Light-Heavyweight crown.

Ranked at number 5 in the world with the WBA and number 7 with the IBF, ‘Spider’ earned his shot at world honours by remaining undefeated since his sole career loss against former World Title challenger Frank Buglioni in October 2017.

The Crystal Palace fighter, 30, comes into this weekend’s showdown with Russia’s long-reigning champion Bivol as a huge underdog and is all too aware of the huge task at hand, but feels he brings something to the table that none of Bivol’s previous 17 opponents possessed. 

“You come into boxing to become a World Champion – that’s always the goal,” said Richards. “I couldn’t be any happier that I have the opportunity to do that on Saturday. I’ve been fortunate to have these opportunities to push my career forwards. Getting the WBA Continental, getting myself in the world rankings. I’ve been in the top 10 with the WBA for two years now. I’m ranked a number 5 with the WBA and I’m in the top ten with the IBF as well. 

“I’ve boxed on a lot of big stages already. I’ve boxed unbeaten fighters, I’ve had pressure fights, 50-50 fights and underdog fights. I’ve really been under pressure in my career constantly. All of those experiences have pushed me and got me prepared for this moment. I believe that every step gets your prepared for the next one. I’ve taken the right steps. Now it’s another step. I’m the underdog again. I’ve had to do things the hard way to get myself into this position. 

“I know this guy is no joke. I’ve made sure I’m prepared in all areas. He’s a good fighter. He likes to be busy at times. He has decent footwork. There’s a couple of good names on his record. I don’t believe he’s boxed someone who brings the stuff I bring to the ring. I think he’s boxed a lot of different types of styles. I think my style is slightly different and I don’t think he’s crossed that yet. 

“The bigger the challenge, the more exciting it is for me. I always get up for a challenge. Every time I’m in a big Title fight when I’m the underdog, I go out there and I get the job done. I haven’t had to go through the gears yet. This is the sort of fight that will get the best out of me. I’ll show everyone what I’m really about. All I think about is that first bell. That’ the moment I really can’t wait for.

“There’s no pressure on me, there’s pressure on him. He’s the World Champion. He’s meant to be this big star. He’s meant to be this super champion from Russia. He’s going to want to go out there and look tremendous. He’ll want to make a statement, so there’s going to be pressure on him to go out there and perform. The pressure is on him, but I’m putting pressure on myself because I want to make sure I get that Title and prove everyone wrong.”

Bivol vs. Richards is part of a huge night of action in Manchester, Derek Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) and Joseph Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) collide in a huge Heavyweight clash, Irish star Katie Taylor (17-0, 6 KOs) defends her Undisputed Lightweight crown against former amateur rival Natasha Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KOs), Chris Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) returns against Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs), Belfast’s James Tennyson (28-3, 24 KOs) faces Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon (23-3-1, 16 KOs) for the IBO Lightweight World Title, Preston Super-Welterweight Scott Fitzgerald (14-0, 9 KOs) makes his long awaited return and Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (1-0) fights in his home city for the first time as a pro. 
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Dynamite-fisted River Wilson-Bent (8-0-0, 4 KO’s) is looking for another explosive KO win in the first defence of his Midlands Area Middleweight title on Saturday 22nd May at the Coventry Skydome Arena, exclusively live and free in the UK on Channel 5.

The red-hot unbeaten prospect from Exhall features in his home city for the first time as a champion when he takes on undefeated challenger George Farrell(5-0-1, 1 KO) from Derby.

Bent ended last year with a devastating third round knockout of Troy Coleman from a blockbuster right-hand that flattened his rival in one of the KO highlights of the year to win the title. The 27-year-old has been raring to go since then and can’t wait to climb through the ropes next month as he continues his march towards higher title honours in the 160 pound domestic division.

He said, “It seems like ages ago since that knockout win over Coleman in December and I really can’t wait to get back in action on the 22nd May,” 

“That knockout was really beautiful, probably the best I’ve had in my career so far.  I know that I’ve got the power to hit and hurt opponents and make them stay down, but I’m not just reliant on my power, I’ve got sound boxing skills and I can go ten or twelve rounds at solid pace.  I know that my engine is there and I’ll be ready to go that distance if and when it comes,”

“Farrell looks good, he’s unbeaten and he fancies his chances against me so he’s taken the fight.  I’ll be ready for him and I’ll have an answer for anything he brings.  I know he likes to come forward and he’ll walk onto something big from me.”  

Bent, who’s exciting, hard-hitting, style has attracted a massive following in Coventry, believes he can start a renaissance of boxing in the once popular fight city that has produced champions including Dean Pithie, Neil Simpson, Richard Evatt, Steven Bendall and Andy Halder.

He continued, “It’s a dream to be fighting in my home city of Coventry as a champion for the first time and I want to be headlining here in the future and become a big attraction with more titles and hopefully, one day, a World title, that would be a dream,”

“Coventry has been a bit quiet recently on the boxing scene, we’ve had many great fighters and champions hailing from here from Dean Pithie to Andy Halder over the years and I’d love to change that and get boxing back on the map here and make it a major fight city for a new generation of fans.”

Bent watched the big middleweight fight between Denzel Bentley and Felix Cash for the British and Commonwealth titles on Saturday night and was shocked by the result that saw Cash destroy Bentley in three rounds.

He added, “I’d sparred 30 or 40 rounds with Bentley and he did great, I would never have expected that outcome. For some reason Bentley just didn’t get going in the fight.  Cash took the opportunity and made it his, fair play to him.  Once those small gloves go on your fists it’s a different game,”

“I know I’ll be up for the British and Commonwealth belts in the not-too-distant future and when the time comes I’ll be ready for them.  Right now I’m concentrating on Farrell and making sure I get the win.”

Main event on the Hennessy Sports action-packed card features Birmingham warrior Sam Eggington (29-7-0, 17 KO’s) against Mexico’s hard-as-nails Carlos Molina (37-11-2, 12 KO’s) for the Vacant WBC Silver Middleweight Championship.  

Chief support features a cracking showdown between Birmingham’s Kaisee Benjamin (11-1-1, 2 KO’s) and Dumbarton’s Martin Harkin (13-1-0, 5 KO’s) in an Eliminator for the British Welterweight Championship.

Also on the card Coventry sensation River Wilson-Bent (8-0-0, 4 KO’s) makes the first defence of his Midlands Area Middleweight title against Derby’s George Farrell (5-0-0, 1 KO).  Former British Light-Heavyweight Champion Shakan Pitters  (14-1-0, 4 KO’s) has his first back against Bradford’s Jermaine Springer (7-2-0, 1 KO)in an eight-rounder since losing his title to Craig Richards last December.  

County Monaghan super-lightweight dynamo Stephen ‘The Hitman’ McKenna (7-0-0, 7 KO’s) features in a six-rounder, but the undefeated red-hot 24-year-old prospect has not needed to go the distance yet with all his fights ending inside.  Birmingham middleweight bombshell Idris ‘The Bodybreaker’ Virgo (9-0-1, 1 KO) goes in over six-rounds.  Sevenoaks all-action super-welterweight  Michael Hennessy Jr. (5-1-1) is in a six-rounder against Warminster’s Paul Cummings.  

Irish super-welterweight ace Brett McGinty (1-0) follows up his thrilling pro debut last December when he features in a four-rounder against Birmingham’s Josh Hodgins.  Brighton heavyweight talent Tommy Welch (1-0-0, 1 KO), son of the former British, Commonwealth and World Heavyweight title challenger Scott, will follow up his explosive debut last December when he stopped Matt Gordon in the second round and features in a four-round contest. 

For further information go to or social media: Facebook @HennessySports, Twitter @HennessySports and Instagram @hennessysports 

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